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The Art of Invigorating and Preserving Life, by the author of the Cook's Oracle.
Boyer's French Dictionary: comprising all the additions and improvements of the latest Paris and London Editions. With a very large number of useful words and phrases, now first selected from the modern dictionaries of Boiste, Wailly, Catineau, and others, with the pronunciation of each word according to the dictionary of the Abbé Tardy, to which are prefixed rules for the pronunciation of the French vowels, diphthongs, and fimal consonants, chiefly collected from the prosody of the Abbé d'Olivet; with a table of French verbs.
[The foregoing work is entitled to the name of a new French Dictionary, containing more in it than any of the English editions of Boyer. The latter, it is notorious, are deficient in the important article of phrases: which in this edition have been liberally supplied from approved sources. It is correctly printed, and highly deserving the patronage of the Amercan public. The second or English-French part is also in course of publication.]
Military Journal during the American Revolutionary War, &c. by James Thatcher, M. D. late Surgeon in the American army.
Elements of Astronomy, for the use Schools and Academies. By J. H. Wilkins. 2d Edit.
Oliver Everett has in the Press and will shortly publish
The Greek Reader, by Frederic Jacobs, Professor at the Gymnasium in Gotha, Editor of the Anthologia, &c. from the Seventh German edition, adapted to the translation of Buttmann's Greek Grammar, with notes and a Lexicon in English; by Edward Everett.
NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
NEW SERIES, NO. XIV.
ART. XVI.-Notizie varie sullo stato presente della Republica degli Stati Uniti dell' America settentrionale, scritte, al principio del 1818, dal Padre Giovanni Grassi, della compagnia di Gesù. Edizione seconda. Milano, 1819. A BOOK of travels in the United States, written by a Jesuit, published at Rome, and reprinted at Milan, is in itself a novelty not to be passed over without notice. These are not the only peculiarities of the publication now under consideration. It is recommended by a still more extraordinary circumstance: it is a pamphlet. This we mention as matter of congratulation to our readers, not doubting that they will fully participate in the complacency with which, after the scores of folios, quartos, and octavos we have had to grapple withal, we hail the appearance of this literary anomaly, a pamphlet of travels.' They need not to be reminded that amplification is the crying fault of writers of the present day. So rare, indeed, is the opposite quality become, that we are almost ready to pronounce the densus et brevis' in composition, like charity among the virtues, the sum and substance of all excellence. We may,
however, solace ourselves with the reflection, that the fault we complain of is not peculiar to our own times; at least we may infer as much from the practice of those sturdy reviewers, the curate and barber in Don Quixote, who have left us an admirable sample of practical criticism. We are informed that these worthies, after having condemned a great number of New Series, No. 14.
authors, one by one, to the flames, at length, without giving themselves the trouble of reading any more titles, ordered the housekeeper to dismiss all the large books into the yard.' We do not intend to hint that it will ever become expedient to purge our modern libraries after the manner of these primitive critics, but merely to premise, that if we are more indulgent to this little book,' than strict justice would seem to require, we think it a sufficient apology, that it does not offend in the particular above mentioned.
Father Grassi, the author of this treatise, resided some years in the United States, in the capacity of superior of the Catholic seminary at Georgetown in the District of Columbia. On his return he was persuaded by his friends to publish the result of his observations, with a view, as his editor expresses it, 'to give an idea of the rapid progress that country is already making in commerce, population, manufactures, the Catholic religion, and every other species of improvement.' This last topic and the subjects connected with it occupy a large portion of the book; the remainder being principally made up of very general statements relating to the climate, soil, and productions of the United States, taken from the common statistical tables, and from a letter of our obliging countryman, Dr Mitchell. These are interspersed with such personal observations as the reverend author had opportunity to make within the limits of the District of Columbia-for he does not appear to have extended his researches far beyond them-together with the gossip of the vulgar, which he has adopted with a degree of credulity altogether surprising. We have had our doubts, so extravagant are some of the absurdities detailed by father Grassi, whether he had himself been duped, or had a mind to make his countrymen a little merry at our expense. The latter conclusion would have been the most desirable, as being more honorable to the writer, and by no means offensive to ourselves, for we are so much the friends of good humor, as to be ready to forgive it under almost any shape. But the profession of the author and the grave character of the work forbad this interpretation. We leave it to our readers to determine, from the translations we propose to give of certain portions of the book, what foundation there is for the first supposition. The coarse jests and broad caricatures, which the good father has, with overweening simplicity, retailed, are not
quoted either for their novelty or spirit. We have thought it not amiss, however, to take this opportunity to show how much of the misrepresentation we impute to foreigners is the reflected picture, which in the excitement of party animosity or local prejudice, we have drawn of ourselves. While the various sects, religious and political, as well as the different sections of our country, are but too willing to paint their neighbors in ridiculous, not to say odious colors, it should not be matter of surprise or complaint, that their distorted portraits are copied by the credulous or illiberal traveller, to the infinite disadvantage of our national character. That the feelings of father Grassi are unfriendly to us, as a nation, we are far from believing; on the contrary, his observations, on points where his religious prejudices do not operate, denote an artlessness of character quite inconsistent with such a presumption. The following remarks will perhaps excite a smile.
In respect of food, I can truly say, that after having been in most of the countries of Europe, in my judgment, the mass of the people is no where better provided for than in America, where both flesh and fish are very abundant. The French, who have been there, have justly observed, that in the United States one sees literally fulfilled the wish, which did so much honor to Henry IV of France, who was used to declare, "that he should not think himself happy until each of his subjects had every Sunday a fowl in the pot." I cannot say that this country is equally well furnished in the article of drink, which consists of whiskey (a sort of brandy,) rum, and other distilled spirits, mixed with water. Wine is very dear, and beer exceedingly rare.' P. 10.
This reminds us of the remark we have somewhere seen of a French traveller in Ireland ::- Le vin ordinaire de ce paysci,' he observes, 'est un boisson execrable, que l'on appelle viski.'
After some further remarks on the productions and resources of the United States, the author proceeds to state generally the number of inhabitants, and then adds:
• About a seventh part of the actual population are negroes, who are held in slavery, in open contradiction to one of the first articles of the general constitution of this republic, which declares freedom to be a privilege inherent in man, and inalienable.
It cannot be denied, however, that there are many power
ful reasons against granting liberty to the blacks in a mass. must not be supposed, that the shores of the American republic are at this day disgraced by the inhuman spectacle of ships discharging cargoes of the miserable victims of human avarice. The present race of negroes in the United States are the descendants of those Africans, who in former times were transported from their native country to the colonies of the New World. The importation of slaves from abroad is now prohibited under severe penalties, but nevertheless, the internal traffic in these unhappy beings still continues. Men are sold to their fellow men, and in the land of liberty, we but too often hear the mournful clank of servile chains. In many states the negroes are kindly treated, and better fed than the peasants of Europe, but in many others they are left in a total ignorance of religion; no attention is paid to their morals; they are never baptized, nor joined in the holy bands of wedlock. The sordid master asks but their labor, and then leaves them like brutes to the blind impulse of their pas sions, and to follow vices and superstitions that exceed belief. This applies principally to the southern states; in the more northern ones, slavery is abolished, and the example begins by degrees to be imitated elsewhere.' p. 17.
As a counterpart to the foregoing, we shall translate a sketch from the north, which occurs afterwards in describing the character of the people of our country.
' Among the inhabitants of the United States, those of New England are regarded as thorough knaves, practised in the most artful deception, and are nicknamed Yankis. The great number of small dealers, who distribute themselves from this quarter into all the other states, and resort to every art and device to get money, has brought this reputation upon the Yankis, an appellation which the English bestow indiscriminately on all Americans. It is very certain,' adds the doctor, 'that to deal with this sort of people, requires no little shrewdness and a pretty exact acquaintance with their laws in relation to contracts. But it seems to me,' he adds with an appearance of candor, which we fear he did not learn at Georgetown, it seems to me unjust to apply a reproach, which belongs to individuals, or at most to a class of persons, to all the inhabitants of those states.' p. 29.
After the preceding samples, the reader will not be entirely unprepared for the following description of American man
The unrestrained freedom which obtains, the drunkenness which abounds, the rabble of adventurers, the great number of